Jo Anne Zujewski, MD, head, breast cancer therapeutics, cancer therapy evaluation program, National Cancer Institute (NCI), discusses the development of drugs to treat patients with breast cancer.
In the past, when breast cancer was considered a more homogenous disease, if a drug demonstrated a response rate of less that 10%, it was not thought to be worth developing. With the advent of actionable mutations and targeted therapeutics, there is now a need to determine which patients are exceptional responders. If an agent demonstrates a 1-10% response rate, it is worthwhile to develop for those patients who would see great benefit, Zujewski says.
The NCI is now focusing on exceptional responders and molecular identification, which requires nationwide laboratory testing to identify mutations and beneficial drugs that can be administered.